tv Canadian PM Trudeau NYU Commencement Address CSPAN May 31, 2018 3:33pm-3:56pm EDT
>> canadian prime minister, justin trudeau, delivered the commencement address to the graduates of new york university. he urged students to fight the quote "tribal mindset." and congressional nationalism. this took place in yankee stadium in the bronx. [applause] mr. trudeau: this group is true -- truly diverse in every possible way. that is extraordinarily valuable and important. when i graduated in the early 1990's, i went on a trip around the world with a few good friends who actually remained good friends to this day, which is sort of a miracle. [laughter]
we treked and traveled, from europe to africa, to asia. that remains one of the great formative experiences of my life. it was an amazing adventure. the voyage [speaking french] it was also an important, a really important contributor to my continued, broader education, because it forced me, for the first time as an adult, to meet,
engage, befriend people with views and experiences, ideas, values, and language, who were i met the korean fisherman, a russian veteran of their afghan war, or shopkeeper and his family, interesting conversations, always happen. maybe some of you have talked about doing something like a great trip like that after graduation. i would be willing to bet one of the first things you heard was a warning. "you can't do that in this day and age, it is not safe." but, here's my question. is it really just the issue of physical safety that makes our loved ones so anxious at the idea of us getting out there? or, is it the threat that if we look past our frame, the frames of our own lives, our own communities, structured values,
and belief systems, to truly engage with people who believe fundamentally different things, we could perhaps be transformed into someone new, and unfamiliar to those who know and love us. there is no question that today's world is more complex than it was in the mid-1990's. there are serious and important problems that we are grappling with and will continue to grapple with. but, we are not going to arrive at mutual respect, which is where we solve common problems if we cocoon ourselves in an ideological, social, or intellectual bubble. [applause] now, we can see it all around us, a peculiar fascination with
dystopia in our culture today. you see it everywhere on film and tv. but the truth is, on balance, we have the good fortune to live in a time of tremendous possibility and potential. a time when it is within our grasp to eliminate extreme poverty, and terrible diseases like malaria and tb, and offer a real chance at education to everyone on this planet. [applause] but for us to move forward, to keep moving forward, we have to do it together. all together. humanity has to fight our tribal mindset. we go to the same church, cool, you are in my tribe. you speak my language, you are in my tribe. you are an nyu alumni, you are in my tribe. [applause]
you play pokemon go, you are a vegetarian, you like the yankees, you go to the gun range, you are pro-choice, tribe, tribe, tribe. see, it is not that belonging part that is the real problem, it is the corollary. you are part of my tribe, they are not. whether it is a race, gender, language, sexual orientation, or religious and ethnic origin, or beliefs and values themselves, diversity doesn't have to be a weakness. it can be our greatest strength. [applause]
now, often, people talk about striving for tolerance. now, don't get me wrong, there are places in this world that -- where a little more tolerance would go a long way. but, if we are being honest, right here and right now, i think we can aim a little higher than mere tolerance. [applause] think about it. saying "i tolerate you," actually means something like, ok, i grudgingly admit you have a right to exist, just don't get in my face about it and don't date my sister. [laughter] there is not a religion in the world that asks you to tolerate thy neighbor. so let's try something like acceptance, respect, friendship, and yes, even love.
[applause] why does this matter? because, in our aspiration to relevance in love for our families and our desire to contribute to make this world a better place, despite our differences, we are all the same. [applause] and, when you meet and befriend someone from another country or another culture, who speaks a different language or worships differently, you quickly realize this. here's my main point, and the challenge i am offering you today. our celebration of difference needs to extend to differences of values and beliefs too.
diversity includes political and cultural diversity. it includes the diversity of perspectives and approaches to solving problems. see, it is far too easy with social media shaping our interactions to engage only with people with whom we already agree, members of our tribe. well, this world is and must be bigger than that. [applause] so, here's my request. as you go forward from this place, i would like you to make a point of reaching out to people whose beliefs and values differ from your own. i would like you to listen for them, truly listen, and try to understand them, and find that common ground.
you have a world of opportunity at your fingertips, but, as you move forward from here, understand that just around the corner, a whole different order of learning awaits in which your teachers will come from every station in life, every education level, every belief system, every lifestyle, and i hope you will embrace that. you have been students, you will continue to learn all your lives, but now, it is also time for you to become leaders. [applause] in every generation, leaders emerge because they one day awaken to the realization that it is not up to someone else to fix this problem or take up that cause, it is up to them. now is the time for you to lead.
leaders, now, i'm sure the word has been tossed around you and at you quite a bit over the past few hours, days, weeks, and years. leaders of tomorrow, leaders of today, but, what does it mean? what attributes does a 21st century leader need to have? what do people need most from their leaders today and tomorrow? now, i think, you need to be brave. really brave. and, i know that when you think of courageous leaders, you think of those folks who stood implacably and fearlessly, willing to pitch their ideas against all comers, against the
slings and arrows aimed their way. well, i don't think that is brave enough. i don't think that is good enough for what our shared futures will ask of you. i actually don't think it has ever been good enough. let me tell you a bit about a a -- about a promising young lawyer at the end of the 19th century who would go on to become my second favorite prime minister. [laughter] he was raised and educated as a proud catholic, french-canadian. an exemplary representative of one side of the two identities that had come together to found canada just a few decades before. the two solitudes, the other half being english speaking protestant and loyal to the british crown, accommodated each
other, cooperated together, and generally, put up with each other to build our country, but still felt all too well the divisions and fault lines that if had led this group through a millennium of tensions and war between english and french. it was impressed upon young wilfred by his teachers and elders that he must stand up unflinchingly for the values and the identity of his heritage, beliefs and approaches that were his birthright and would be his legacy. that, they told him, was leadership. but, wilfred grew to believe he -- grew to believe otherwise. he realized it is actually easy to stand fixed, rooted in the conviction that you are
right, and either wait for others to come to you, or wait for your chance to impose your rightness on your others. he found it is harder to seek compromise, to dig deep into yourself, your ideas, and convictions honestly and rigorously, to see where you can give, and where you do need to stand. while, opening yourself up to the other point of view to seek out and find that common ground. and that, remains wilfred's political legacy, more than 100 years later. to let yourself be vulnerable to another point of view. that is what takes true courage. to open yourself to another conviction and risk being
convinced a little or a lot of the validity of their perspective. that is scary. discovering that someone you have disagreed with might have a point. might even be right. but, it shouldn't be scary or threatening. particularly to all of you that have worked so hard these past years to pursue truth, to learn, to grow. being open to others is what has gradually led canadians to understand that differences can and must be a source of strength, not weakness. and, i say, gradually, because 20th century canadian history is filled with counterexamples and terrible setbacks that we are still trying to remedy today. most notably, the systemic marginalization of indigenous people.
[applause] we are not perfect, of course, but that sense of openness, respect for other point of view and acceptance of each other really does underpin our approach as we try to solve the great problems of our time. and not because we are nice, but of course, we are. [laughter] but, because by bringing together diverse perspectives, you get a much better shot at meeting those challenges, and that is how we come back to you. and the leaders the world needs you to be. leadership has always been about getting people to act in common cause. we are going to build a new country, we are going to war, we are going to the moon.
it usually required convincing or coercing a specific group to follow you. the way to do that has usually been through travel contract. tribal contrast. they believe in a different god, they speak a different language, they do not want the same things we do. the leadership we need most today and years to come his leadership that brings people together. [applause] this is the antithesis of -- that brings diversity to a common cause. this is the antithesis of polarization, the aggressive nationalization, the identity politics that have grown common as of late. it is harder, of course. it has always been easier to divide and unite.
but, mostly, it requires true courage because if you want to bring people around to your way of thinking, you need to first show them that you are open to theirs. that you are willing to enter into a conversation that might change your mind. show respect for your point of -- show respect for their point of view and you have a better chance of having them listen to yours. regardless of what happens, you will have had a genuine exchange that focused on understanding, not scoring points, and you will both be improved for it. let me be very clear, this is not an endorsement of moral relativism or declaration that all points of view are valid.
female genital mutilation is wrong, no matter how many generations have practiced it. [applause] climate change is real, no matter how many folks want to deny it. [applause] but, here's the question. do you want to get into an -- do you want to win an argument and feel good about how superior you are, or do you actually want to change behaviors and beliefs? [applause] it has been pointed out the many differences between abraham lincoln and jefferson david was -- jefferson davis was that davis preferred to win a debate while lincoln would rather win the war. that is the question. do you want to win an argument, or do you want to change the world? [applause]
with malice towards none, and charity toward all, let those words of this country's greatest president guide your ambitions, your hope for yourselves, your families, your country, your planet. there is no shortage of cynicism and selfishness in the world. be there answer, their antidote -- be their answer, their antidote. i am optimistic about the future because of you. it is your future to make and mold, and shape the world. it eagerly awaits and requires your ideas, your initiative, your enterprise, your energy, your passion and compassion, your idealism and your ambition, but remember, that true courage
is the essential ingredient and -- in all of your efforts. congratulations class of 2018. now, go change the world. [applause] commencement speeches all this week in prime time. tonight at 8:00 eastern, tim cook, governor john kasich and congressman luis gutierrez. on friday, jimmy carter, betsy devos, representative mark meadows and atlanta mayor.
this week on c-span. sunday on q and a, patricia o'toole discusses her book. there's a huge psychological literature about wilson and i have read it but i have the tose that it reduced him tangles that i did not feel i could deal with on the strength of my own knowledge. some people have said that this stubbornness in his later life was a reaction to his father's strictness. they can point to one story where his father made him revise a little thing he wrote a bunch supposition isis
that wilson resented this. but he was a good boy and he put up with it. inn you read every mention wilson's letters of his father, they are worshipful. >> sunday night at 8:00 eastern on q and a. secretary of state mike pompeo talked to reporters in new york city about his meetings with a senior north korean official. did not know whether the summit scheduled for june 12 in singapore was back on but he told reporters progress has been made. >> good afternoon. as you know, in addition to my meeting with vice chairman